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Hope Against Apartheid as Symbolized in Cry the Beloved Country and by Nelson Mandela

Apr 23, 2002 1051 Words
Hope. It is the one thing that people have survived on for centuries. Without hope, the African Americans of the early 1800's would have just succumbed to the will of the slave owners. This is why Mandela is considered such a great leader. Nelson Mandela's message through his speeches was one of hope, which is the only thing the people of Ndotshemi have to thrive on (Chokshi). Alan Paton, the author of Cry the Beloved Country, also believed in hope bringing together the land of South Africa. There are many similarities between the novel and the real life occurrences of the South African Apartheid. In the book or in the real life Apartheid, someone came into the scene that was willing to help by assuming a leadership role, whether it is Nelson Mandela or an agricultural spectator, the one that appears at the end of the novel. Also, In one of Mandela's speeches, he believes the youth really are the fighting force. Considering they hold their own future in their hands, James Jarvis' grandson, the boy that appears at the end of the novel that seems to have put all past biases behind him, seems to be someone who at one time could lead a racial revolution, uniting the tribes of South Africa with its white counterparts. Another thing, in another of Mandela's speeches, he so eloquently writes "This is our national soul, our compact with one another as citizens, underpinned by our highest aspirations and our deepest apprehensions. Our pledge is to again shall the laws of our land rend our people apart or legalize their oppression and repression. Together, we shall march, hand-in-hand, to a brighter future."(Mandela 1993).

This matches the book dramatically with the end of the novel being a new sunrise, symbolizing a new rebirth. In both circumstances, some one has came in as an unlikely leader and lead the group into a new way of life. Mandela assumed leadership by being a humble, modest man who the people could respect and admire. He also never let his own success come before his leadership role to his country (Dugard). One of the reasons he was such a leader was because he never held himself to a higher status then any of his loyal followers who believed in him so dearly. In his speeches he commended everyone else, before giving himself one ounce of praise (South Africa Index). The novel also had a savior of sorts, in the form of the agricultural spectator, who came in and took charge. He taught the Afrikaners how to cultivate and mass-produce crops so that they have a way to support themselves. With him came a sense of hope, which is just what Mandela brought to the South Africans in their severe time of need (US Congress 1996).

Mandela really seems to believe that if the youth of the nation don't realize their power, ground will ever be made in the unification of the whites and Afrikaners. The grandson is learning to speak Zulu, so as to unite the two worlds, which are thus intertwined. Nelson Mandela states in one of his many speeches, "I pay tribute to the endless heroism of youth, you, the young lions. You, the young lions, have energized our entire struggle."(Mandela 1996) In the court where Absalom is sentenced, the one to help Kumalo is the young white man from the reformatory, breaking the racial divide,

which had otherwise segregated the room. As the novel depicts, the youth of the area seem to be the only ones able to put aside their differences. They can accomplish this because the differences between the two divisions are getting blurrier with each generation. As shown in the book, people of different races can now seem to get along if they try hard enough, such as the case between Steven Kumalo and James Jarvis.(Paton Cry…)

"And so it has come to pass, that South Africa today undergoes her rebirth, cleansed of a horrible past, matured from a tentative beginning, and reaching out to the future with confidence,"(Mandela 1994) Nelson Mandela predicts. They are reaching out for a new beginning in the novel, as well as the Apartheid. The past is behind the people of Ndotshemi and they are looking toward the future with a new system of agriculture and maybe bring the two groups closer to a compromise (NARMIC 24). At the end of one of Mandela's most famous speeches, he states: With confidence, we are asserting that the individual rights and national self-determination of the South African people shall not be inhibited, but reinforced by the collective rights of communities. Through the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, we have found an innovative way of addressing an issue which, when swept under the carpet, comes back in ugly forms to haunt the architects of artificial unity.(Mandela 1994)

This is said to mean that the unification of the tribes can not just be something that is said or promised, it must be acted upon with good intentions. Without the action, the words are meaningless and hold no real value but a shallow lie. Without hope, the people of Ndotshemi, as well as the people of South Africa, would be spiritless and would have no drive to rebuild. Nelson Mandela, as in the real Apartheid, and new ways of efficient manual labor, as in the novel Cry the Beloved Country, have given them a reason to try. In one of Mandela's speeches, he so eloquently writes: This is our national soul, our compact with one another as citizens, underpinned by our highest aspirations and our deepest apprehensions. Our pledge is to never and never again shall the laws of our land rend our people apart or legalize their oppression and repression. Together, we shall march, hand-in-hand, to a brighter future.(Mandela 1990)

Today the South Africans have more than hope on their side. They also have many a people helping them through their hard times, and many nations providing their support. But without hope, it is to be said that they couldn't have gotten where they are now and been half as successful.

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